The Loss of a Generation

One of our commentators, Mother of Five, touches on something that threatens the very survival of our Church.   

As I read this, I am reminded of Christ’s teaching:

But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.  Matthew 18:6

Mrs. Yours Truly





  1. This is the bare, naked truth. A Church without Faith is no Church at all. What is the point of it?

    • Mother of five is 1000% correct.
      What Bishop Alexander has done is deeply Grevious. He seems to be more concerned with protecting bodies then protecting souls!
      ”don’t sing, don’t kiss the icons, don’t kiss the cross…”
      It’s like he’s ordering me to die inside.
      I wonder if he were a bishop in the early days of the church: would he have ordered the new Christians to stay in their homes and lay low and not proclaim their Christianity because ‘hey, y’all might be eaten by lions’?
      Doesn’t  holy scripture say that the lukewarm will be spit out of His mouth?
      for the first time yesterday, since this nonsense started, I watched a piece of the Facebook stream. I was shocked by what I saw.  Paper Towels to wipe your mouth with after receiving the divine mysteries!
      Another Bishop Alexander innovation?
       What other pieces of Holy tradition will Bishop Alexander change to accommodate his slavish obedience to a secular authority that has been wrong over and over and over again?
      His actions must be fine with the metropolitan, or metropolitan Tikon would have put the brakes on him already.
      Well I believe Bishop Alexander is leading the faithful off a cliff.
      I will not follow his lead.
      Thanks be to God I have found a small holy Russian mission in which to pray, in which to sing, and in which to Fellowship.  Yes, somethings are different; but most of it is the same. It’s hard to adapt to new things; but the things Bishop Alexander is instituting are all a step too far for me.  
      Unless he has a softening change of heart and reverses all the slavish nonsense; I will not be back.

      • DisappointedOrthodox says

        Efraim, the fact that you were even able to view the Sacred Mysteries online is of some debate. In general, the Lord taught us not to throw our pearls before swine:
        “For I will not speak of Thy Mysteries to Thine enemies…”
        Countless parishes stream online now. But I have noticed that some have implemented the sound practice of stopping the stream, or simply covering the camera during Holy Communion.

  2. This must be read by every Orthodox bishop and priest from every jurisdiction. This article summarizes the tragedy like I have never seen before!!! Bravo!!!

  3. David Nektarios says

    Amen, sister. This crap has got to end, and it must never happen again. If it does, well then maybe we’ll have to find bishops and priests willing to go “underground.”

  4. According to a BBC News bulletin (of which I only heard part):
    If religious gatherings were to be allowed, people might want the pubs to be open…

  5. She said it all . AMEN.

    I hope certain people in high places will take note.

  6. Gail Sheppard says

    Sadly, she is right.

    Our parish children ARE an afterthought and I cannot accept it. It is not Orthodox and I must remain true to the Church, even though I can’t exactly see where she is at the moment. If I take a public stance against these innovations, and I have, how can I justify not removing myself from them? If I don’t walk the talk, I am a hypocrite.

    Our Holy Fathers told us not to pray with the heterodox, which means those who do not conform or accept Orthodox standards or beliefs. To even walk into a parish to light a candle would send a message to the powers that be that I accept their changes and I don’t. I cannot worship there under these circumstances.

    This has turned into another “Ukraine” for me. It is another betrayal to our Faith and another abysmal failure. But I’ve got to give credit where credit is due: Bartholomew was right when he said, “they’ll get over it” because “get over it” we did. Last I heard, the tomos was still in place and our hierarchs did nothing to address it. As a group, they were neither “hot or cold” and couldn’t muster a stance against the undefendable. And like so many other things Bartholomew has done, it has chipped away at our Faith. The schematics are still schematic and aligning themselves with other schematics in the Unia, which was the fear all along. And in the absence of our hierarch’s ability to do what God placed them there to do, i.e. protect the Church from such pestilence, God has slowly withdrawn His grace from those responsible. Poroshenko was not reelected, the nationalists were not able to absorb the canonical Church, Russia was not cordoned off, and most importantly, Bartholomew is getting his just due, as no one pays attention to him anymore; not even the State Department.

    So maybe what we’re seeing here, where our children have been sidelined, is further evidence of God withdrawing His grace. We could launch a pretty significant objection to what’s happening by distancing ourselves from all of this, but all we’ve really managed to do as a group is bitch on a blog and that includes it’s primary “voice”.

    Let’s face it folks, in place of the Church, we have a sterile facsimile that is a poor representation of what used to be. And have you noticed that the powers that be have never once offered their regrets? Sure, when all is said and done, the masks may disappear but I’m not so sure we will ever go back to a single spoon or venerating the icons. One more virus and it all will be gone. We have failed to protect the backbone of the Church which are our Traditions. Some don’t even know what “Tradition” means in the context of the Church, which shows how badly we are at passing them down.

    We have handed the Church over to academics who see themselves as the new, improved theologians of our time. They spend more time looking up canons to support their POV than anything else. We are living under a different paradigm where their interpretations have replaced that of the Holy Fathers whom they all but ignore. When was the last time you heard a bishop quote the Holy Fathers? What we’ve got instead is their “take” on Saint Mary and how it applies to present circumstances. That it has never been interpreted this way before doesn’t concern them in the least because they don’t care about preserving the Church’s teachings; they care only only to justify their actions, counting on the belief that we won’t know the difference, and if we do, we won’t be do anything about it anyway.

    In Bartholomew’s now famous words: “We’ll get over it.”

    They are probably right. What have we done so far? They’re still doing what they’re doing and we’re still capitulating. By entering their newly “improved” parishes (isn’t that what they say on boxes of cereal these days???), we’re giving in and that’s all they care about. That we don’t like it doesn’t concern them, as long as we continue to show up and pay our tithes.

    How does that saying go? “But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord,” I can’t say that anymore because my house is divided, but I cannot enter a parish who has pushed aside the Faithful and a whole generation of God’s children. I simply cannot. I don’t know where all this will lead me but God knows. How can I do otherwise? For to do so would be to choose them over Christ:

    If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. Luke 14:26

    I will always love Christ first and it comes as no surprise that this will come at a cost. He said this is what it takes to be His disciple.

    • Gail,
      “I must remain true to the Church, even though I can’t exactly see where she is at the moment. “
      Suppose for a moment that the leaders of your country do not love their country any more and they are working for another country, e.g. China or any other you like. What should you do? Do you abandon ship, going to another country or do you stay HERE and try to free the country from the apostates/traitors?  
      The same with the Church. Where is She? Right here, where your FAITHFUL brethren and clergy are plus the facilities you have paid for. The brethren and you gave money for the church building and facilities, not the clergy!  Let the apostate/traitors of the faith understand they are not wanted, let them go away!
      Lord have mercy.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Oh, I agree. I’m not abandoning anything. It’s like I’m a little kid on the beach who got washed down the shore with the tide not realizing it. I look up and I’m not where I am supposed to be. I just have to find that umbrella my parents told me to look for to find my way home. The Church is always present and I am fortunate because I have options. Canonical options. Not all the jurisdictions have bought into this craziness.

    • Once again Gail, you have eloquently summarized the ongoing apostasy. I am with you 100%.  At this time, my family and I are in a parish which flies under the radar. Nothing has changed since the flu arrived.  We have been blessed. However, if the bishop decides to throw the COVID wrench at us, we will need to find another parish that does not capitulate to this blasphemy. The nearest parish is three hours round trip. The next nearest parish is four hours round trip (both are Russian).  But there needs to be a long term solution. We all need to get on our knees and pray, with tears, for Panaghia to ask her Son, to send us a Bishop we can attach ourselves to. Let the jurisdictions continue in their new Orthodox reconfiguration. They will call us schismatics…but that’s okay…we will have the protection and divine grace of the Holy Spirit and a true Bishop who guides us to all truth…with the authentic phronema of patristic Orthodoxy. Lord have mercy on us.

  7. Alitheia 1875 says

    Aside from the fact that the Covid 19 virus is, in fact, more deadly than other viruses (100,000+deaths in 3 months versus 60,000+ deaths annually, and a good number of those latter deaths were of people who had not been vaccinated), the issue of Holy Communion should be looked at independently of any concerns except our faith. When bishops, priests and laity do not keep them separate they cause great spiritual harm. They have forgotten (chosen to ignore?) the petition that we hear in the services where we pray for a Christian ending to our lives, painless, BLAMELESS, peaceful and with a GOOD DEFENSE BEFORE THE DREAD JUDGEMENT SEAT OF CHRIST.

    The GOA position is blasphemous, shameful and a fundamental betrayal of the faith. It has always been the belief and teaching of the Church that one should not approach the Cup when there are doubts about just what the Body and Blood of Christ is.

    • 100,000 deaths if you believe that number by our GUV, and cash strapped hospitals looking for Federal money. I would not be surprised if half of those deaths were not from Covid 19 virus.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      You know, Alitheia, take it up with God. WE DID NOT CREATE THIS VIRUS. I cannot stop it. Until we have a vaccine, everyone is going to be exposed and sadly, some (or many) won’t survive. It is not under my control. Nor is it under YOUR control. It is yet another example of how tenuous our existence is here on earth.

      Christ did not tell us to realign the Church to accomodate what happens in the world. I am going to make you happy, though. I will not be taking my germs into your church. Of that, you can be certain.

      • Alitheia 1875 says

        Why that reaction to my post? Seriously. What ever in the world gave you the impression that I disagree with whatever is being said here? Did I say anything about realigning the Church? Why do you assume I won’t kiss icons or the priest’s hand or accept Holy Communion except by the common spoon? Please read my post again. I thought I made it pretty clear we need to separate things, you know, as in render unto Caesar and render unto God.

        • Gail Sheppard says

          You’re right, Alitheia, and I sincerely apologize.

          I thought when you were talking about keeping COVID separate from the Faith what you meant was, “Yeah, yeah, the Faith is important but the measures they’ve employed to stop the spread of the virus are more important than the faith.” Again, I probably did misread it and I do apologize. – I’m also relieved, BTW. This is one of those times I am happy to be wrong. Can’t we both be happy we wrong about the numbers, as well? Thank God, we’re are looking at so many fewer deaths than were predicted.

          • Alitheia 1875 says

            Thank you. I’m not convinced about death numbers but that is Caesar’s. I can tell you that in my parish we commune from the common Cup with the same spoon, we kiss icons, the priest’s hand and the blessing cross he holds and receive antidoron directly from the priest’s hand to ours. Glory be to God for all things.

            • Gail Sheppard says

              I am so glad to hear your parish has not succumbed. Yes, Glory be to God for all things!

  8. Serbian Orthodox Christian says

    May God Bless you and your family. At my parish no masks required. We kiss the Holy Icons and the hand of our priest. We receive Holy Communion without any change in practice. People practice social distancing if they wish and can sanitize their hands as they enter/leave as they wish. Altar boys stand shoulder to shoulder and our children come close as they approach the Holy Mysteries. We are truly blessed and I grieve everyday for all my brothers and sisters who are suffering from all this craziness. 
    I don’t believe for a moment that your tapestry can so easily be unwoven.

    • I am so happy for you, Serbian Orthodox Christian!  Are you in the US?  The Serbian Church in the US here posts the rigid rules of the Assembly of Canonical Bishops so I wasn’t going to try here. But if you are here, I will!  So far the GOC under one Metropolian allows Holy Communion the traditional way about Chalice and Spoon. But not the rest as you describe it!  Oh I hope you are in the US!  

  9. This is why we put some time and effort to write here so the Bishops can hear or may  even read that what they are doing c’est la trahison de la foi. Not only children, lot of mature people are not going to come back to the Chruches were Bishops forbid to kiss the icons, hide blessed water in the corner or priest and deacon wear face masks. This is not Orthodox Church anymore it is something else.

  10. Mom of Toddler says

    You are not alone in this. We have decided to continue not attending church as well. Our church was in OCA Diocese of the South. They are cleansing the spoon with alcohol after each communicant. This seemed like blasphemy to us and the videos by Peter Heers confirmed this as well. We will not approach communion that was modified for faithlessness. The Antiochian church nearby is an option.. but they are requesting that you do not close your mouth on the spoon, wear masks, social distance and do not sing. This is unacceptable. How can I tell my toddler not to sing “Lord have mercy” if he wants to? Or not to kiss and icon of Jesus? I cannot and I will not. Unfortunately , I don’t think things will get much better. I see that the OCA has been on a trajectory. Out of my entire church, only two families, including ours, are concerned with the innovations. Most people in my community are buying into the narrative unfortunately and this is a presumably conservative area. I hope something works out for the families in my region that want to keep worshipping according to tradition can do so canonically. And regarding my experience in the OCA, I have definitely experienced the attitude that Pope Francis has towards those “crazy traditionalist” and gaslighting trying to make me question the reality of the Orthodox Church. At least, I’m done with that now. On another note, I think it’s great that our tradition likes to think of the “best intentions” of others, but we are also called to shrewdness. There are clearly people in our Church without good intentions just as the Bible said there would be.

    • Rhipsime says

      I don’t know what ROCOR is doing, but as far as I can tell, the Serbian bishops have left a lot more of the decision-making for their churches up to the parishes. The parishes can be really, really hard to feel at home in sometimes, but if you have a Serbian church around you, it might be worth it to give them a call, as I think more of them are willing to be as normal as possible.  

      • Mom of Toddler says

        Thanks!  I don’t have any churches near me not following the “new protocols” (not even within three hours in any direction) but it is seeming like my family should reach out to the Serbian Orthodox Church.  I have only been to a Serbian church once to see a Myrrh Streaming icon and it was a great experience.  
        Also, I’m sorry in my original post I meant to say Father Peter Heers.  I’m not sure why I left out his title by accident!

    • Fed up to here! says

      Remember, though, that if you’re involved in a virtuous-enough effort, social distancing rules, mask wearing, and virus-mitigation don’t apply and don’t matter.

      We must social distance, wear masks, avoid Holy communion, and not sing at church, because church is not a virtuous effort as determined by the leftist white liberals who run our culture.

      But if you are rioting, looting, and wreaking havoc in your local major city while pretending that it’s in the defense an unfortunate black man in Minneapolis, well that is definitely a virtuous cause. No one will care if you hug each other and share saliva and respiratory droplets if you’re rioting and looting for that virtuous cause.

      Stop the country and the world, I want to get off. Or at least I’m so damn tired of living in a country governed by morons.

  11. “O compassionate Lord, may thy holy Body and thy precious Blood become the bread of everlasting life to me, and the healing of manifold diseases.”
    Canon of the Divine Communion, First Ode.

    • Beautiful and true. The answers are there in our Liturgies, Hymns , readings for all who look. Thank you for providing, Ioannis so respectfully.  

    • 5th Prayer of St. John Chrysostom of the Prayers before Holy Communion:
      “And by the intercession of her that conceived Thee without seed, the immaculate and ever-virgin Mary, Thy Mother, mine only hope that putteth not to shame, my defence and salvation, do Thou count me worthy without condemnation to partake of Thine immaculate, immortal, life-creating, and dread Mysteries, unto forgiveness of sins and life everlasting, unto sanctification and enlightenment and strength and healing and health of both soul and body”…Holy Transfiguration Monastery Prayer Book, p. 361-2

  12. Julianna says

    When my six year old sees someone in a mask, he runs from them. I am relieved to see other families are also not attending while this goes on. Our parish is still not allowed to serve Liturgy with more than ten, including the priest. This limits attendance to six not including the servers. This will not be lifted until cases go down for two weeks. OF course we’ve had very few cases here, but they are not going to go down with increased testing and out of state travelers bringing it back.
     The priest is required to wear a mask to serve communion and to dip the spoon in alcohol between communicants. I have no idea how to explain to my six year old, or my other children, why father would wear a mask to serve communion.  We’ve talked many times about Saint John of Kronstadt healing with Holy Communion.  These edicts seem to ignore that. 

    • George Michalopulos says

      I am glad to see that some priests are not “dipping the spoon” in alcohol. However, given that some are reportedly doing this is most distressing.

  13. Aren’t the fault lines that we’re seeing in Orthodoxy’s response to coronavirus the same fault lines that we saw with the Ukrainian schismatic church that Constantinople created?

    (By the way, thank you coronavirus for at least quieting down the noise that we’re hearing from the Ukrainian schismatics — that’s one blessing of the virus, that there’s been far less Ukrainian schismatic church drama over the past 3-4 months.)

    But I mean a year or two ago when Constantinople magically created the Ukrainian schismatic church and “reordained” unrepentant deposed clergy…. we had churches lining up to support C’ple and those that did not. It was the modernist vs faithful-to-Orthodox-Christianity fault line that we saw then.

    Aren’t we seeing the same thing now? The more modernist Orthodox churches are going all “Governor Gretchen” on everyone, making you receive Holy Communion in a spacesuit and rinsing your mouth with Clorox in between, while the more faithful-to-Orthodox-Christianity churches are practicing what we preach — that Christ and His Body and Blood in no way can transmit disease, but is rather the ultimate healer of disease.

    Last Sunday I purposely closed my mouth around the Holy communion spoon to demonstrate to God that I trusted Him and was not afraid. I’m certainly not suggesting that everyone should do that, but if you do it, what will the bishops do? Stop the communion line? Make you go wash the spoon out in the kitchen? Granted, I attend a ROCOR parish where the modernist contingent of Orthodoxy is generally frowned upon. But still, there are those in my parish who remain quite fearful of coronavirus, primarily because of the “fear-hype” that the media has played up over the past few months.

    But it seems to me that the “fault lines” we are seeing develop in Orthodoxy with the coronavirus response parallel the fault lines that we saw in terms of who supports the Ukrainian schismatic church and who does not. None of this seems merely coincidental or accidental.

    And I’m sorry, but if St John Maximovitch were alive today in San Francisco, I just cannot envision him sitting idly by and allowing his flock to believe that they may get sick from receiving Holy Communion. Can anyone imagine him using plastic Holy Communion spoons, or telling the faithful not to close their mouths around the spoon? Come on, he’s a saint for a reason! Aren’t we supposed to imitate him? Are not our pastors and bishops supposed to imitate him?

    • anonimus per Scorilo says

      Aren’t the fault lines that we’re seeing in Orthodoxy’s response to coronavirus the same fault lines that we saw with the Ukrainian schismatic church that Constantinople created?
      Yes indeed:
      The Russian church was the first who changed the practice of communion, back in March, they asked that the spoon be wiped with an cloth imbibed in alcohol after each communicant. 
      And the Constantinople bishop in Germany preferred to forbid the communion of the faithful rather than change the traditional practice and use multiple spoons. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        And still, it is the Cpolitan churches which normalized unrepentant and unordained bishops, was it not?  And it is that same patriarchate which wants the use of multiple spoons:  “Multiple Communion Spoons is the Only Sensible Choice” ( ).

        See you on the flip side when you’re in Rome?

        • What is the difference between multiple spoons or disinfecting it?  The assumption is the same, that it needs to be “sanitized.”   
          The fact is, Moscow is doing the same thing the Ecumenical Patriarch did (and is doing).  The only difference is that the EP did it first. 
          And that’s OK.
          It truly is a pan-Orthodox effort, and I think this is a good thing.  The Ukraine cheap shots (and “both sides” are taking them) ring hollow when everyone has more important things to focus on.

    • Saint John Maximovitch ate Holy Communion given to a person with rabies:

      • Another beautiful encouragement fro the Saints not the reasoning of men. Thank you Juliana. 

  14. Of Alexandria says

    It is worth noting that the OCA’s institution of contact tracing is highly suspicious. Read up on what this entails. Once one is in the contact tracing system, one never escapes. Oh, you are healthy, you say? Nothing to worry about, you say? The way it works is that if someone with whom you attend a masked “liturgy” has had contact with a person who has tested positive (and we all know there have been many false positives) for COVID (or whatever else is being contact-traced) then you yourself may very well be put on house arrest. That’s right. No one sick, no symptomatic at all. You decline to observe the “voluntary quarantine”? The state will be more than happy to keep you at home by threat of force. Or, they can help you understand the danger you pose to others by detaining you in jail. I wish I were making this up. 
    I thought decisions were typically reached after much consideration in the Orthodox Church? That is what I have been told after my family of 6 converted in 2019 and I began asking about the silence in regard to the EP’s many un-Orthodox moves. Didn’t take any time at all to institute contact tracing, though. Despite the clearly ominous Soviet precedent of priests and other servers reporting on laity to the authorities. It’s like the OCA already knows JUST what she is doing. 
    The medical injections that are being touted as the world’s only hope have nothing to stand on. When the OCA or other bodies require medial injections to attend services, what then? Those who will comply will be too late to change their minds. These injections are likely to be devastating to health. 
    From my perspective there is no parish in my area because the parish we attended has apostatized and desecrated herself. Thanks be to God we were able to convert and experience one Pascha! It may be the only Paschal service we ever experience. 
    Healthy people are not quarantined; healthy people who are forced to stay home are under house arrest. Holding fast to the truth involves more than simply understanding the Truth of the Gospel. The evil one is quite nimble in his attacks, and one of the most effective ways to lure someone into evil is to reframe reality so that they view it as good. Those attending masked “liturgies” think they are doing good; those reporting on their neighbors to the authorities think they are doing good. But when we willfully remain ignorant and are not wise as serpents then we can be used by the evil one to evil ends. May God have mercy on our souls. 

    • Gail Sheppard says

      This is chilling but I think you’re absolutely right.

    • Thankful says

      I believe this to be true as well, though we were asked to contact the Priest if we would like to attend.  There was no mention of whether attendance would be recorded, but your comment makes me wonder?
      Outside the Church, the masks are the key issue (I believe they have no place in context of Church, except possibly someone who voluntarily needed one).  As Orthodox, we understand ‘As we Pray, so we Believe’; action translates and transmits beliefs, effecting a change on levels we don’t even realize; that is why there is such a strong push for the masks.  Despite being informed of the truth (that there is practically no benefit) by Dr. Fauci, the Surgeon General, WHO and even the CDC’s own website, we were then asked to ‘believe a lie’ and wear a mask; this slowly burns an underlying message (people are dangerous germ carriers who not made in the image of God or filled with His breath and a Virus may strike at any moment) into people’s heads.

      You may find this video interesting as a bird’s eye view of the situation:

      Also, the Rockefeller Technology Scenarios blueprint spoke of Masks being worn due to a Pandemic and continuing long after it was over (and it was written 10 years ago, which I believe was even prior to China’s fondness for masks).

      • Gail Sheppard says

        The CDC wasn’t fond of the idea initially but then was offering suggestions on how to make them!

        What they don’t talk about is that you have ACE2 receptors in your eyes which is how this virus gets into the cells. The mask might keep it from your nose, but it can’t keep it out of your eyes. They should have had people wear sunglasses if they wanted to come up with something to give people some confidence that they could avoid being infected. Masks can make you sick and wrap around sunglasses are way cooler!

        • The function of cloth or surgical masks is to reduce the amount of virus laden droplets that an infectious person is exhaling into the air. An infectious person may be asymptomatic and not know they are contagious.

          Over time it has come to be understood that perhaps the primary concern for transmission is time and proximity in indoor spaces. Certain types of ventilation, including air conditioning can act as a conduit in these spaces.

          Given this mode of transmission it is completely irrelevant that the communion chalice and materials cannot transmit the disease. In an indoor environment, you can be infected by attending a service while not even approaching the cup.

          It turns out telling people to just wash their hands and stay home if they are sick is insufficient. It is possible to be contagious and asymptomatic. Wearing a mask and physically spreading people out reduces but do not eliminate risk of infection in a closed space. The absence of masks and distancing with SARS-CoV-2 has shown to result in some very high attack rates in several detailed case studies.

          I find it extraordinary that some perceive mask wearing as something other than a practical method of living out the principle of loving your neighbor. It is correct to say that a cloth mask and lack of eye protection may only have very little mitigation against being infected, but it is a demonstrated means of trying to reduce the chance of infecting others. For it to be labeled as ‘virtue-signaling’ or an expression of ‘TDS’ comes across as putting partisan political identification above living out core praxis of the Christian faith.

          Similarly, the abuse that bishops and obedient clergy have received is also extraordinary. The Church is supposed to spread the life of the Gospel to its surrounding communities, not a deadly disease. Communion may not spread the disease, but it does not prevent people from contracting the disease while attending services. Many churches are simply unable to conduct services with any kind of significant population in their indoor spaces without a high level of risk. And reading posts here, there seems to be little regard or thought paid to the consequences of church-driven outbreaks resulting in significant spread of disease to their surrounding community.

          • Gail Sheppard says

            Well, Flavor Flav, I think it’s wonderful that you choose to wear a mask 24/7, presumably since the day you were born, as the coronavirus has been around a very long time and is responsible for 20% of the common colds we experience each year. Sadly, for some, a cold can turn into life threatening pneumonia, but you already know that which is why you wear full protective gear each time you leave your home.

            Be sure not to drop your masks in the street, as some people are apparently doing. They are a reservoir of germs. Put them into a sealed bag for 24 hours and then dispose of them responsibly. It might make sense to hand carry them to a landfill and dispose of them there, yourself, as to prevent sanitary workers from getting your germs. And make sure the masks you wear are really clean because you can make yourself sick, as well.

            I’m sure you didn’t mean to elevate yourself as you drew attention to our collective failings. Thank you for sharing. It’s good to know that of all the people who comment on the blog, you, alone, carry out a “practical method to live out the principle of loving your neighbor” when it is so obvious to you that we are not capable of the same.

            I have to challenge you, though, when you accuse the good people here of “abusing obedient clergy” as we are all well aware most all of our clergy are between a rock and a hard place. Although I’m not pleased with all this insanity, I have given huge props to my own priest because he holds Liturgy EVERY DAY just to give us the opportunity to attend. I am the primary editor on the blog and I cannot recall even one person taking out their frustration on a priest, deacon, chanter, choir member, etc.; in other words, anyone who is simply being obedient. We know they have no choice in the matter and we hear this from them behind the scenes. Not one priest has told us he agrees with any of these directives and they talk to us a lot. If they felt we were wrong, we’d hear about it. .

            In terms of the bishops, I’m not sure they care what we think, Flav. If they did, they’d probably ask. To say WE’RE abusing our bishops is like saying a 5-year-old is abusing his father!

            I agree the mission of the Church is to spread the life of the Gospel and they do a darn good job of it, too. There is no evidence that the Church has EVER spread a deadly disease, masks or no masks. People get sick, my dear, and NO ONE likes it. How you could conclude that the people who comment here have too “little regard” or pay “no thought” to “the consequences of church-driven outbreaks resulting in significant spread of disease to their surrounding community” is a mystery and a seriously stupid comment. Sorry, but it is.

            This will be the last time we will indulge these sanctimonious comments. Save yourself the trouble of writing a lengthy rebuttal. It won’t see the light of day. Submit something when you don’t have an axe to grind. Make it about the issues and not about the people. NO ONE CARES WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE! You don’t even use your own name.

            • “There is no evidence that the Church has EVER spread a deadly disease, masks or no masks.”

              Umm… what on earth are you talking about? Google unavailable suddenly?

              Cholera, TB, typhus – deadly enough for you?

              • Gail Sheppard says

                I think you need to ask yourself the question: “Google unavailable to you suddenly?”

                Cholera is spread by eating or drinking food or water contaminated by the feces of an infected person. Not by the CHURCH.

                TB is spread through the air. Not by the CHURCH.

                Typhus spreads to humans by flea feces or animal droppings. Not by the CHURCH.

                If the Church didn’t exist, these diseases would have been just as present and just as deadly.

                • The Church doesn’t spread disease, but disease can be spread in Church.   Not from the Chalice, but by the person next to you in the Narthex.    In other times of plague, there were monasteries that were devastated by them (in addition to parishes).
         has a great article on the history in Russia.   We can debate specific measures, but I would say that a proper balance of perspective would be more helpful. 
                  I personally view the masks as an act of economy for faithful who are scared, as well as an extra layer of protection (like putting on an extra coat in the winter, yeah it won’t guarantee you won’t get sick, but it can reduce the chance significantly).
                  It isn’t a denial of Faith to put one on, no more than was it a denial of Faith when St. Nikodemos or the Russian Fathers wrote on their anti-plague measures.    We know what is in the Chalice, and nobody can change that. 

    • Regarding injections, I keep hearing bishops, priests, and guests on ancient faith podcasts make statements effectively saying that their hope is in a future vaccine to get us back to normal, to save us. It’s sad how quickly is forgotten to “put not your trust in princes”. But what disgusts me is that any vaccine will almost certainly include aborted baby tissue as part of it’s concoction. Why are official voices of the church glossing over that fact and are already making statements which implicitly encourages receiving such? 

      • Mom of Toddler says

        Yes, it’s shocking.  The silence on this has bothered me ever since I had my first son and learned that half of the vaccines today use aborted fetal tissue.  When I asked my now former priest about it, he sent me an article that quoted Pope Francis and basically said: yeah, it’s sad but there is the greater good.  (I don’t agree).  I saw a video the other day where a young nurse was calling it what it is: witchcraft.  Putting dead children into a healing liquid/potion: She is so right, what else is it other than witchcraft.  Yet, our churches, according to a certain Orthodox Metropolitan and possibly others, cannot return to normal until the vaccine is here.  It is almost like anti-communion.  They want us to receive into our bloodstream the  RNA of a murdered child yet keep us from the Body and Blood of Christ who willingly gave his life to save us.    This is a great article to read on the upcoming vaccine from Union of Orthodox Journalists:     It’s not hard to imagine the vaccine will be required for attending the “Orthodox Church” when it’s available.  If masks and kissing icons, etc aren’t optional, why would a vaccine be optional? I hope I am wrong.  

        • The other truth about vaccines is the lack of double blind studies for safety!  How The greed of big pharma has corrupted medicine and harmed persons!  Anaxios.  

  15. Sage-Girl says

    Gail I never received this in email… Why can’t I get it ?

    • Gail Sheppard says

      So just key in Google the following and it will take you to the front page so you can see the new stuff:

      I’ll check on the email thing. I’m not sure how people sign up because I go in through an admin screen, but I’ll find out for you. Are you getting any emails?

      • Sage-Girl says

        Yes Gail – just received in Email ? this thread today Sunday –
        kinda feels, I came too late to discussion 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          It was put out yesterday, hours before you commented on it. There have been a dozen or more comments today after you felt it came too late for discussion. It will stay open 45 days so there is still plenty of time.

  16. Michigan Orthodox says

    This letter and more like it need to be sent to our bishops. Print it out and mail it.
    They listen only to lawyers and fake news. The faithful need to be so loud they can’t ignore us.
    I’d like to see laymen stage “pray ins” ignoring attendance and distancing rules. Personally.

  17. Rhipsime says

    This!  This!  This a million times!  
    As I posted before, my youngest hasn’t even been to church yet because of Covid-19.  I’ve felt bad about it, but I couldn’t bring myself to do the livestream thing.  It just seemed too wrong.  We get taught from the beginning that we are participants in the Liturgy, and that there is meaning in the actual Body and Blood of Christ.  Now, when a lot of us really need the support the Church gives us, most of the bishops seem like we’re expendable, not needed at all in the life of the Church, and that communing is nice, but optional.  
    I am angry that this is the message that is getting sent to the kids.  My two older children are at ages where they see their peers being “just fine” with lives that don’t involve all the “God stuff”.  It is a struggle to get them in Church, it’s a struggle to engage them with anything there, etc.  THANK YOU BISHOPS for now reinforcing that it isn’t “necessary” to actually come to church!  THANK YOU for making a mockery of Church teaching, and for what we, as parents, have worked so long and hard to try to instill in them.  
    Yes, I understand that the medical situation is not to be mocked, but we know an awful lot we didn’t a couple of months ago.  Among those things is that it is rare for children to get Covid-19, and, apart from people that they live with, it’s almost impossible for them to transmit it to others.  That’s the science.  So why are they still so bothered about the kids coming to church?  
    Furthermore, what a lot of people seem to be missing is that there are a growing number of people who have had Covid-19 who have fully recovered.  Yes, there’s a question out there as to whether if you have it you get immunity for life or not, but say you’ve had it, what good does it do you to “socially distance” or take any of these other unusual measures to “slow” the spread?   If yes, that gets into some weird ethical issues as far as “immunity passports” or something of the like.  If no, then where is the end point of this?  When all disease is healed?  Science is not the god that Jesus the Healer is.

  18. AnonSaysWhat says

    One has to wonder if these bishops and priests that have shown to go along with the narrative of how dangerous this “pandemic” is, and agree to the closing off of services – and now enforcing or following clown measures just to take Holy Communion… do they not understand the times? Do they not understand what is coming? That these LAST moments are tests? And I do mean to stress LAST, because our Holy Saints have given us enough warning of the horrible events that are to come due to our lack of repentance. Of course, we the faithful are also being tested. Our patience, faith, time dedicated to prayer, kindness, not judging others, etc… all being tested.
    We should pray for their eyes to open. Lord have mercy!
    I was listening to Metropolitan Neofytos of Cyprus – in a recent sermon, of a story of Elder Eumenios. How Elder Eumenios, when he contracted leprosy, fell down to his knees glorifying the Lord. He would explain to others as to why he would glorify the Lord simply saying, “A great sickness/disease? Heavy Cross! Heavy Cross? Great Resurrection!” (I feel it flows better in Greek…) – And Bishop Neofytos speaks how that spirit in contrast to the western spirit/european spirit – how sickness and disease brings misery, fear, agony, anxiousness, depression, and lack of faith or no faith at all. It’s not enough that our bodies get sick, but the sickness spreads to our spirit.
    And maybe it was stated here before, but Bishop Neofytos a while ago spoke of several witnesses of Saint Nikephoros the Leper, appearing and speaking to several faithful to spread the news to not to fear this virus. But to call upon the Saint in prayer, and he would heal them. 

  19. Alex Andrite says

    Dear Children;
    Are we of this world? 
    Do we live in fear?  Do we rant and rave?
    Or are we His children?
    Do we choose to follow His examples, and the examples of the Saints gone before us? 
    Who is your Patron Saint?  Do you really know Him or Her or Them?  Read their lives, and most importantly,
    Guard Your Hearts in Christ Jesus !
    Peace He has given us.


  20. Katherine Vaporis Herron says

    THANK YOU for this!! Many of us feel this way but are getting drowned out by the secular minded “faithful”. We also will not attend any church who will choose to proclaim Christ’s healing Body and Blood is not salvific and that the spoon can transmit germs, even though CHRIST is touching the spoon. What kind of example is this for our children? They might think we have been lying to them all this time, and rightly so! I am so over this contradictory behavior. As Christ asked, “Nevertheless when the Son of Man cometh, shall He find faith on the earth?” Sadly, we have seen the answer to His question.

  21. Christiana Fidirikkos says

    I feel your pain, you’re wonderful Christian parents, God Bless you?☦️I’m very upset about our Orthodox Churches, I can’t believe what I’m seeing all over the world. I haven’t been a good Christian model for my my kids as I married a Lukewarm Christian husband & agreed to leave 400km from a Christian Orthodox Church to make my Marriage work. I would take my kids to Confession & Holy Communion 4 times a year in the school holidays. They’re grown up now, one moved away & the other in her last year of school. Sadly they’re not going to church anymore? I’m due to go & see my Family soon but I will not enter The Church with all these extreme conditions, these evil & secular changes in Our Holy Church! May Our Lord Jesus Christ Have Mercy On Our Souls?☦️The only comfort & peace that I get is to read & listen to Our Holy Saints Lives, The Bible & Chanting Our Church Hymns on You tube!

  22. Thomas Shaw says

    People are missing the point that this is the end of Orthodox parishes as we have known them.  In the case, of the GOA it has certainly embraced the sacrament factory model where you order your sacrament in advance and move along while ensuring you tip the clergy at the end for clean and sterile services.   We now have curbside communion in the GOA.  Call ahead for pick-up please.  
    And if you really want an eye opener check out this article on drive-thru Church from The National Herald.  Is this where we are today?
    The National Herald: Want a Bigger Congregation, Have a Drive Thru Church.

  23. OCA Insanity says

    Received last night from OCA Parish Priest in the Diocese of the West.  The following insanity is verbatim, copied and pasted directly from the parish’s email.  Blessed by +Benjamin.
    I have divided the parish into four groups by last name.  Only those with Last Names in the assigned group may enter to the church to worship on a given Sunday. Additional weekday Liturgies may be attended in-person by advanced sign-up only, first come first served.
    Sunday May 31st: Last Name A – E
    Sunday June 7th: Last Names F – K
    Sunday June 14th: Last Names L – P
    Sunday June 21st: Last Names Q – Z
    Sunday June 28th: Last Name A – E 
    Please refrain from congregational singing at this time.
    We are all expected to check our temperature at home in the morning.
    Everyone attending church over 10 years old must wear a mask or cloth face covering.  No exceptions.  Looser fitting ok, but must cover nose and mouth.  If you refuse to wear a mask, you will not be permitted to enter the church.
    Spaces where to stand will be marked, and the usher at the door will indicate where to you may stand.  Keep six feet distance from others at all time, including when outside. 
    Note: You must also keep six feet distance from each other when approaching to receive Holy Communion (don’t crowd together in line).  
    At that point, please remove your mask; the priest is required to wear a mask at Communion time.  
    Each communicant will receive from a separate liturgical spoon that will be placed in boiling water between communicants.
    Bow only to venerate Icons.  Do not kiss or touch the icons or any iconography.
    Do Not shake hands, hug or kiss anyone, including the priest.
    Wash hands with alcohol-based sanitizer.  Hand sanitizer available for use in Narthex.
    Age 65+ and high risk are encouraged to stay home and view services online.
    Let us rejoice in what we have been given, and not grumble about how we think things ought to be.

  24. Sage-Girl says

    PRAY ?for Peace!! ?Our Nation is engulfed in flames,
    for just 1 sadistic White policeman causing death of 1 Black man, it gives excuse for masses of leftist Blacks to riot, loot + burn down the town — in Minneapolis, NYC, across America.  God bless Trump for sending National Guard.
    Satanic forces have sent a global Pestilence & now, violent trouble makers Antifa + BLM to kill police + follow hate filled Leftist Anti-White Narrative.
    The White Christian Male is under attack like no one else.  How many times have Whites been murdered by Blacks + there’s NEVER any riots or looting? 

  25. Sue Rosselli says

    I so sadly am in agreement with this entire article. It would appear that the world comes before the church now…

  26. Gail Sheppard says

    Wish I had some way of contacting this mom to to tell her we posted her story (originally this was submitted as a comment) and of all the people who support her.  

    Fr. Peter Heers just posted the story on his blog as well:

    • I pray she has sent a letter with her full name to her priest, dean, chancellor, Metropolitan, Archbishop, etc. and suggest an online petition with signatures to be sent to the Assembly of Bishops. 

      • Gail Sheppard says

        I don’t know if she even knows how powerful it is. I wish I could contact her.

    • Mother of Five says

      Dear Gail, 
      I’m here and seeing all the beautiful supportive comments. Thank you for taking the time and care to share my comment in this way. I’m honored and truly feel God just gave me the right words at the right time. I’m relieved and encouraged that I am not the only mom, parent, or Orthodox Christian who feels so passionately about all that we are experiencing. For those unsure of my existence, I can assure you I am a real mom. 

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Dear Mother of Five

        I am so glad to hear from you! Thank you for your contribution to the blog. I just couldn’t leave your brilliant piece as a comment. I hope you will forgive me. Please know I stand behind you. I am not the only one, either, as you can see by the responses you’ve gotten here. Even Fr. Peters Heers was moved and put it on his blog.

      • Dear Mother of Five,
        Thank you for replying here!  I can’t figure out how to comment on Fr Peter’s Orthodox Ethos site since Disqus requires an intrusive survey before commenting there.  
        If you are willing to share, would you mind letting us know:
        If you have sent your letter up the chain of the hierarchy officially?  
        What jurisdiction you are in?
        What reason you have to stay anonymous?  I ask this because we have so many clergy and laity afraid to speak and being accused of being fronts and not real people.  That’s a different kind of fear, isn’t it?  
        I am hoping our wonderful Patristic priests will educate all of us including fearful hierarchs, clergy dispassionately about our supra-natural Orthodox Faith and Tradition via the Holy Fathers, Saints, Ecumenical Councils, etc. so all can feel calm and fearless about coming based on them.  Many of us are just plain ignorant.
        May your letter be heard and your/our longing assuaged!
        Best in Christ,

        • Gail Sheppard says

          To be fair, I’m not sure Mother of Five had any intention of being in the spotlight. I think God put these words in her head, as she said, and she dutifully wrote them down and placed them as a comment on this blog. We get 50 to 100 comments a day sometimes. She could have no way of knowing that George and I would be so moved that we would delete her comment and make it into a post instead. I think we’ve done that only twice in our entire history.

          Or that her words would later be picked up by Fr. Peter! In other words, she may not feel comfortable doing more.

          But with her permission, maybe you could! I agree they should see it. Perhaps you could add some words of your own about how many responded, empathizing with her.

          You write so well, Nicole. If she isn’t comfortable maybe you could offer to help her in this way. If it came from George or me, I’m not sure it would be as powerful or well received. Coming from someone else, even anonymously, might be better as her words speak for themselves.

          Just a thought.

  27. Eleni Seroogy says

    This is how I feel as well. I am at a loss now. All we have worked for as patents tring to teach our faith to our children are being undone. I have 9 children and am grieving that our Chicago metropolitan still has not opened church its almost June. Where are our leaders I am afraid no one will stand up for our right to wordhip. We got more support from our president than our metropolitan. This is a sad time for our faith. This is uncannonacle. I fear they will loose people. The church was already struggling with this. I work at a hospital as a nurse and am sorry report that the only crisis corona virus caused was that we had to stop all elective procedures and it dropped our census to 1/2 the capacity of the hospital putting many healrh care workers out of work by loosing thier hours. We never came close to a bed or ventilator shortage as reportef. Maybe our leaders would know that if they were in touch with people instead of politicians. 

  28. What a beautiful letter! It is also encouraging to read on here some experiences of parishes and priests that haven’t changed anything, no masks, kissing allowed, no alcohol dipping, etc… I wish there was a safe way to make these parishes known to others online. Many including my family would travel and perhaps even move to connect with just some fellow Orthodox laity and priests who hold to the faith as we do. I was definitely taken by complete surprise by the churches reaction to the virus.

  29. Apparently the GOA Boston Metropolis just a decade ago had the traditional right Orthodox understanding:
    How I grieve to see the change in such a short time!!!

  30. It is a sad and moving letter.   As a parent, I also have had angst about “handling Church” during this plague (I use the old time word, because to me it conveys all aspects of it, including the spiritual, emotional and psychological).
    I would say, that leaving your parish for one that is “more Orthodox” is not the answer, and it will not have the results this clearly anguished mother (and others) may intend.   I would point to the folks who left EP Churches for Moscow because of their position on Ukraine, and now that Moscow has enacted strict measures as well (in some instances, going even further than the Ecumenical Patriarchate), the temptation may be to rage against Moscow’s “betrayal” and move on again.
    But where to?   We’ve been here before. (whose editorial tone I abhor) has some excellent articles on the Russian Church’s handling of plagues, and that included quarantines and “special measures.”  John Sanidopoulos on his Mystagogy website has provided similar documentation on the Greek side of the house.    There actually is a precedent in the Church for all of this, and it was controversial back then too.   
    My point, is that the Church kept the faith even in those times.  It didn’t change.   There have always been Bishops who disappointed us, priests and people.  But we are together.    I would contend that it is not hysteria to support the anti-virus measures, and it is not an evil to question those measures either.
    Perhaps it is not the intention of this blog and some commenters to encourage people to leave their parishes or sow division, but this is where rage and condemnation leads us, even if we think the fire is pointed in the right direction.
      There is lack of faith all around, I think, and not just in the Sacred Mysteries.   If we claim faith in the Chalice but not in our Bishops or each other, is it really Communion?  This is a greater question and crisis, I think, and this plague has only laid bare what was already there.  I would include the riots underway in this as well.
    “If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? And this commandment we have from Him: that he who loves God must love his brother also.” 1 John 4:20-21
    As we know in the Scriptures, “Hate” in the scriptural sense encompasses much more than just the vengeful vitriolic feeling that is normally associated with “hate.”   
    The “Left” and the “Right” talk about the other side, and condemn their “hate speech.”  Both sides are right about the other, they just lack the self-awareness to see their part in it…OUR part in it.   It is all “Hate Speech,” and I use that word in the sense that Christ uses it, when we “devour our brothers (sisters).”
    We have totally lost the Golden Mean, and the proper measure of things.  The Gospel is the only place left it can be found.
    To answer the points brought up on this blog:   Our Bishops need our love and prayers, even when they make mistakes or the wrong decisions (as fathers do).  Our parishes need us, even if we don’t agree with everything.   Don’t leave.  They Love You, and yearn to keep the faith as much as you do.  They are family.   And these measures will be another footnote in the history of the Church, as the Cholera measures in Russia and going all the way back to the days of Byzantium.     Let us be patient together, and use soothing words and not speak in anger to anyone.   Our cities are burning tonight.   There is enough anger, enough strife.
    Forgive me if this sounds preachy, but we really are together, and it is a temptation to forget that in the maelstrom of our age.   

  31. Serbian Orthodox Christian says

    Born and living in the USA!

    • Thank God,  Serbian Orthodox Christian!  If you feel comfortable letting me know personally about how to find a Serbian Orthodox Church in my area which is doing so and how you recommend approaching them,  please forward the email through George & Gail to me.  I live in Dallas TX.  I have found a wonderful GOA Church which has traditional Communion but all else is as the AOCB dictate.  Best in Christ,  Nicole

      • Serbian Orthodox Christian says

        Dear Nicole, when I was looking for a parish, I prayed to our Most Holy Theotokos and she directed me to my current parish home. I will keep you in my prayers. 

        • Bless you Serbian Orthodox Christian!  I am grateful for your prayers and will happily imitate you.  

  32. WanderingFool says

    When the Lord comes will He find Faith on the earth?
    These are dark days indeed and us laity have to bear a heavy cross with living the Faith that is being betrayed by those who are supposed to preserve, protect and defend the Gospel. Let us stand aright, let us stand with fear [of God], let us offer the holy oblation in peace! Even if the Holy Oblation is mutilated in form, we can pray and offer the spiritual sacrifice of praise in our hearts. Listen to the Holy Prophet Isaiah:

    Isaiah 41:10
    Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 

    God is with us! Even when the it seems like the hierarchs have betrayed the Faith, we have the Saints, we have Our Mother, the Ever-Virgin Mary, and most of all we have our sweetest Jesus Christ. Pray! 
    The Church is being crucified, East and West, betrayed by her pastors, infiltrated by her enemies, led into slavery by the world powers, but she will prevail. She has endured 2,000 years of persecution, heresy, schism, and attacks from within and without. We must become the humble bearers of her Tradition, such that when they ask in a century how the Church of Christ survived such apostasy, they will point to the quiet, hidden faithful who simply carried on in dungeons, prisons, wildernesses, and holes in the ground, and who simply continued with martyric steadfastness to live and pass on the faith they had received. 
    Peace be to all! 

  33. Tim R. Mortiss says

    Sounds great. I look forward to services within the next month or two. I figure we can take two or three months of disruption. Then we’ll be back together.
    Or we can stay in our basements and pour forth our  apocalyptic delusions….
    See you in church soon! All will be well with us.

    • “I look forward to services within the next month or two.”
      Yeah…then flu season begins and they’ll lock the people out for another six months.

  34. Here’s a good one. Check out this press release from 2009. Eleven years later, this same Metropolitan has nothing to say about using multiple Communion spoons. Something stinks in Denmark.

    • DisappointedOrthodox says

      Here is another good one. An excellent arcticle on that same issue by Fr. John Breck (OCA) that same year. 
      How could the church be so stalwart in defense of the Faith during an epidemic that was more lethal for children and young adults?
      It’s shocking how social media, politics, and media hysteria can sway the leaders of the Church so easily. Lord have mercy!

      Let’s give our bishops the benefit of the doubt.    They need us. 
      These are crazy times, and “stuff happens.”    Everyone is trying to figure it out and mistakes inevitably are made.  His Eminence has not changed his views.   What has changed is your view of him (or is it perhaps because of who his Patriarch is?).

      • George Michalopulos says

        Let’s give a shout-out to Metropolitan Methodius for not caving under secular pressure.

      • Brendon and George if you click the Source link of this article you will see it is the 2009 article re the H1N1 flu and The only comment from 2020 is by the poster in big red letters saying “ ASK YOURSELF: WHAT HAS CHANGED IN THE CHURCH IN THE LAST TEN YEARS TO MAKE THIS “UNACCEPTABLE VIOLATION OF CHURCH ORDER” THE NEW NORMAL?” I can see why you would be confused due to the format. I posted it yesterday here as well so I Double-checked.

        • H1N1 and Covid-19 share some similarities but also some key differences, particularly in their mortality and how contagious they are.  The silent contagion that is Covid-19 is what makes it more insidious and fearful for many people.
          There is no need to fear the anti-virus measures.  Just another footnote in the long history of the Church and the subheading on “Plagues.”
          That messy history is actually a comfort, because its not a reason to freak out, but a rather a clipped exhale and “Here we go again.”
          I have overcome the world.”    That verse has been my comfort in all of this. 
          “This too shall pass.”

        • Nicole, you are addressing ‘Brandon’.
          I am ‘Brendan’. The vowels are different.
          The names have different derivations.
          Brendon is a variant of Brendan, not of Brandon.
          Yet I am not he and he is not me.    🙂

        • Correct, Nicole. His comments are from 2009. Can anyone show us that Met. Methodios continues to hold the same stance during this so-called pandemic?

      • Thankful says

        Please carefully peruse the linked article; the statement was made during the H1N1 ‘Outbreak’.

        The author wonders why things are different now, especially considering children were apparently susceptible to H1N1.

  35. Why not lock for 40 years as some bishops like to mention St Mary of Egypt.
    Here is a sermon for yesterday’s feast that relates to the current situation.
    Theophan the Recluse on Fathers of the 1st Ecumenical Council
    Arius denied the divinity of the Son of God and his being of the same nature as his Father. The entire Church rose against him. All Christians in all corners of the world confessed unanimously that the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s only begotten Son, God of God, born and not created, and that He has the same nature as the Father.
    One could think that this unanimity was something of an accident; but this faith endured a fiery test when the imperial power and aristocrats began to support the Arians. Neither fire and sword nor persecutions could do away with the faith of the Church. It was confessed again by everyone everywhere as soon as oppression faded. It means that this doctrine is at the heart of the Church and is the cornerstone of her belief system.

    • I don’t think anyone has denied our faith.   St. Mary was in an extraordinary circumstance, as are we.   Nobody is saying that this should be the norm or that this is “ok.”  This has been difficult for everyone, and if bishops are wrong, it isn’t because they are apostates.  
       In times of plague, counter-measures are taken.    We can’t be sure of their overall effectiveness in our times because the question has become a political one.   There is evidence that masks and proper hygiene help (I use the word “help” deliberately, because they are neither a silly act of hysteria or a magic cure) and should be used.   Beyond that it is fuzzy.
      One day a proper accounting will be taken.   This blog (and those “other guys”) are not the ones to do it.

      • Gail Sheppard says

        Brandon, we are not in the same circumstances of St. Mary. Not even close. Read the story below and point out even one thing in our present circumstances that relates to her story.

        If the bishops are wrong and their opinions and actions in our present circumstances do not correspond with the beliefs and teachings of our Holy Fathers, then they are apostates, i.e. a person who renounces a religious or political belief or principle. But no one cares about their status. This is the first time I’ve even heard that term. What’s important is they are not our Holy Fathers. They are not theologians. They are academic administrators. They will be remembered for the foolish decisions they made and God may (God does what He will) hold them accountable for every soul lost, as a result.

        Metropolitan Joseph is fond of saying we’re in the business of saving souls. I hope he’s paying attention to our children. Because they’re turned off by all this and may never come back. And why? To benefit me (I’m supposedly at a high risk)? I’m not worth that, Brandon. I have lived a long life. I’m one person who is at risk for something that impacts only 2% of our population. I can stay home if I’m afraid. I do not want to alienate even one child (or anyone else for that matter) from the Church to accomodate my needs. I can take care of my own health needs. I do not need a bishop to rearrange the Church for me.

        She began her life as a young woman who followed the passions of the body, running away from her parents at age twelve for Alexandria. There she lived as a harlot for seventeen years, refusing money from the men that she copulated with, instead living by begging and spinning flax.

        One day, however, she met a group of young men heading toward the sea to sail to Jerusalem for the veneration of the Holy Cross. Mary went along for the ride, seducing the men as they traveled for the fun of it. But when the group reached Jerusalem and actually went towards the church, Mary was prohibited from entering by an unseen force. After three such attempts, she remained outside on the church patio, where she looked up and saw an icon of the Theotokos. She began to weep and prayed with all her might that the Theotokos might allow her to see the True Cross; afterwards, she promised, she would renounce her worldly desires and go wherever the Theotokos may lead her.

        After this heart-felt conversion at the doors of the church, she fled into the desert to live as an ascetic. She survived for years on only three loaves of bread and thereafter on scarce herbs of the land. For another seventeen years, Mary was tormented by “wild beasts—mad desires and passions.” After these years of temptation, however, she overcame the passions and was led by the Theotokos in all things.

        Following 47 years in solitude, she met the priest St. Zosima in the desert, who pleaded with her to tell him of her life. She recounted her story with great humility while also demonstrating her gift of clairvoyance; she knew who Zosima was and his life story despite never having met him before. Finally, she asked Zosima to meet her again the following year at sunset on Holy Thursday by the banks of the Jordan.

        Zosima did exactly this, though he began to doubt his experience as the sun began to go that night. Then Mary appeared on the opposite side of the Jordan; crossing herself, she miraculously walked across the water and met Zosima. When he attempted to bow, she rebuked him, saying that as a priest he was far superior, and furthermore, he was holding the Holy Mysteries. Mary then received communion and walked back across the Jordan after giving Zosima instructions about his monastery and that he should return to where they first met exactly a year later. When he did so, he found Mary’s body with a message written on the sand asking him for burial and revealing that she had died immediately after receiving the Holy Mysteries the year before (and thus had been miraculously transported to the spot where she now lay). So Zosima, amazed, began to dig, but soon tired; then a lion approached and began to help him, that is, after Zosima had recovered from his fear of the creature. Thus St. Mary of Egypt was buried. Zosima returned to the monastery, told all he had seen, and improved the faults of the monks and abbot there. He died at almost a hundred years old in the same monastery.

        Later, the story of Mary’s life was written down by St. Sophronius, Patriarch of Jerusalem (cf. “External links”).

        • Gail, it’s not just about you or me (I’m in my 40s, but who knows how the virus would affect me—any disease is a roll of the dice).   My point is that St. Mary’s situation was not the norm for 98% of Christians even in her era.   This is not “the norm” for us now (just as the Turkish/Communist Yoke wasn’t “the norm” either).  The Church adapts to the situation it finds itself in.    I think the insidiousness of this plague in the vast number of asymptomatic people should give us pause.
          I don’t think your condemnation of the Bishops is helpful, with all due respect.   Our fathers don’t cease being our fathers because of their human frailties.   Perhaps some bishops overreacted—some may have said harsh words to laity with questions or antagonism towards these decisions.  
          This plague has set us in a minefield of temptations, where we turn on the people who we should cleave to (Our Bishops, our parishes, our neighborhoods, our communities).   Our children will be saved by our love, our prayers and us keeping the Faith in our homes.  If our home is truly a Home Church, then that will make all the difference.  
          Everyone is consumed by fear.   Fear of the virus, or in this blog post, fear of our children leaving the Church or that the Church “will change.”   
          You say that we will all get sick.   Yes, that is true.   But most of our children will also leave the Church.   That is also true.   But, neither is a permanent thing.   The Grace of God conquers all.   We can get well, and our children can come back.   
          “In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

          • Brandon, I am sixty-five. I work on trains, with the public. Before that I worked on buses, with the public. I have been exposed to everything that is going for decades. As a result, my God-given immune system has been trained to become (and remain) pretty robust.

            In three months I retire. Unless I continue to associate with people of all sorts, my immune system will weaken from lack of exercise so that, should a new respiratory pathogen of unusual type or extra virulence (or even a mild new variant of flu, rhinovirus or coronavirus) appear, my immune system will be less able to deal with it than it is now.
            From lack of exercise, muscles will wither.
            From lack of exercise, immune systems will degrade.
            From lack of Communion, the Faith will not grow.
            For Community Health, for the Church:
            Lockdown is a disastrous policy.

            • That may be true for you, but for many others, it is not.
              This is a very fine line, and everyone is trying to find the right balance, the right solution.   A Chinese style lockdown is terrible, and even the countries who flattened the curve didn’t resort to that (South Korea, Taiwan, Australia, New Zealand).  
              I agree, a one size fits all solution is no solution at all.    Being denied the Chalice is terrible, but we’ve had that happen to us before too.   These are not “normal times,” so I don’t think the standard of normal can be applied.   This is a plague time, and in times of plague, we do things differently.   It doesn’t mean the faith was or is denied, and after each and every plague,  “normal” resumed.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                But that’s the point, dear BrAndon, these ARE “normal” times. . . for the Church. She’s been through every plague known to man and in comparison to many, this is a relatively mild one. It is the extreme reaction to it that’s not “normal.”

                • George Michalopulos says

                  Gail, if I may, we Orthodox in America have had it so easy for so long, we have no conception at all of what true suffering means.  Besides Bolshevism and the Ottoman yoke, there was the Tatar yoke, the Baltic Crusades, the Islamic slave trade, the Catacombs.

                • We live in a different age, yes.   But our Bishops still are collectively guided by the Holy Spirit.   If they make the wrong decisions,  God will correct them.   We keep the Faith, pray for our Bishops, and practice holy obedience—I don’t mean servility or blindly following, but honoring their position and if they are not doing the right thing, to treat them as Christ told his disciples to, for they still sit “in the seat of Moses.”  
                  We keep the Faith, with humility and Love.   The Devil is attacking us from our right flank, whispering in our ear that we are “more Orthodox than them.”   That is the point I am trying to make.   This division is another assault against us. 
                  St. Porphyrios is a saint I particularly revere (Wounded by Love was my formational introduction to Orthodox Spiritual Life).

              • DisappointedOrthodox says

                You keep using the word “plague”. Plagues are usually associated with great historical pandemics that have had extremely high death rates and sometimes wiped out half of entire populations. Using that term is disingenuous and hurts your argument.
                The CDC now has the covid-19 fatality rate at .26%, a little higher than the common flu…and that number keeps falling. However, the flu can typically kill people of all ages, whereas covid is most serious to a particular segment of the population. We know who is at risk, and we’ve known this since the very beginning. Of course these people should be protected…everyone agrees with that. Yet the government, and regrettably the church, is acting like this virus kills everybody that it comes into contact with. In an unprecedented move we have quarantined the healthy for no reason. By doing so, we are not reaching the natural immunity that the population needs. Basically, the healthy need to be exposed to this. 
                By perpetuating fear, by distancing, masking and over-sanitizing, (not to mention wrecking the economy) we are making the problem so much worse. Estimates are now starting to surface that for every life that was saved by these measures, a hundred lives will be lost due to secondary and unforseen effects. 
                God gave human beings the natural ability to fight disease…these inhuman measures are all against the Creators design. We expect such from our secular government…its scandalous when the Church leadership is complicit in this madness.

                • I use the word plague because it captures the tone and tenor of the times.    
                  If the Bishops are wrong, then that will become clear.   It is impossible to know for certain, because it has become a political question, and any “facts” are tainted by our passions.
                  People choose the facts they want, the reality they want.    That is why I say we should give them the benefit of the doubt, and wait.    Pray for them and love them as we ought to, and this is especially true of our parishes.   Stay where we are.   Don’t leave.   Don’t give in to the spirit of division, the Enemy whispering in our ear that we “know better.”
                  We should also extend this respect to our government.   The spirit of “Not My President” is from the Evil One. 
                  The language on this blog is distressingly apocalyptic.   Why? 

                  • “…we should give them the benefit of the doubt”.
                    Why should not they give us the benefit of the doubt
                    and open the churches?

                    • They have a responsibility before God, just as our government does (“Not my President” is from the Evil One).
                      Our Bishops are trying to open the Churches in the best way they can.   Were they wrong?   Maybe.   But as I said in another post, we are not in the AAR stage yet (military term for those who don’t know, means “After Action Review”).

                    • DisappointedOrthodox says

                      I appreciate your tone and I am grateful for this opportunity in civil discourse. This is rarely the case in facebook arguments! And for that I thank you.
                      “Facts are stubborn things” as John Adams is famously quoted. The fact remains that this is not a plague in the historical sense of the term. Perhaps “plague” captures the tone and tenor of the exaggerated and hysterical reaction, but in truth we know this is not so.
                      People in powerful positions are called to use discernment at every step and turn. Broad-sweeping directives, inevitably have serious consequences.
                      A wise father heeds the counsel of his wife and his family in making decisions. Bishops tend to the spiritual needs of their flock and parents tend to the needs their children. When the bishops ignore the feedback of the parents there is a big problem. I think this is Mo5’s main point. Nobody is considering what ramifications this will have on the youth. They are an afterthought at best.
                      I’m sorry but online materials, though well-intentioned, will not do the trick. In her wisdom, the Orthodox church has always relied on the full experience of worship to pass on the Faith. This needs to be constantly cultivated…especially for children. Cerebral learning is much less a factor in our Tradition…and distance learning via screens will amount to a statistical zero when it comes to the retention of our youth.
                      I can attest to the fact that raising children in the Church in today’s culture is an incredibly difficult and delicate task. The diligence required today is greater than that of any generation in recent memory. Most of the bishops today were children in the 40’s and 50’s; a totally different era. Their communities were much stronger, and the culture in general was more Christian. They probably had many Orthodox friends, and their schoolmates were probably Catholic, or high church Protestant. Every adult was a parent, and most were decent role models. Nowadays, parents have it much harder. We are lucky if our children’s friends are even nominally Christian.
                      If the heirarchs have any concern for the children in the church today, they will listen to the pleas of Orthodox parents who are struggling with all of this. As is evidenced by the outcry of so many here, on Fr. Peter Heers’ site, and possibly others, this is not just a few zealous traditionalists. I belive we are talking about a significant portion of faithful Orthodox parents.
                      We are not creating division…we are reacting to divisive measures that are unnecessary. Those who are weak in body, or weak in faith can always remain home until fear subsides.
                      The bishops do need our prayers, on this we agree! May they acquire the Spirit of wisdom and humility and address this situation that has become a scandal to so many Orthodox families.

          • Mother of Five says

            Dear Brandon, 
            How has the church adapted to the situation in finds herself in, in the past? I am curious as to what adaptations you are referring to? Everyone is NOT consumed by fear. That is my point. I am not. It does not sound like the many others that have commented here are. There are priests who are not afraid.  There are parishes whose greatest adaptation is the canceling of coffee hour but nothing else. And we as a family have attended those parishes. I am not aware of anytime the church has “adapted” holy communion. 
            Yes, our home church is a blessing and a gift and of great value, especially now. I’ve worshiped that way many, many times before this. With kids, it’s unavoidable. But it is NOT church. It is not communion.  
            My husband was steeped in the church his entire life. So were his three siblings. All adults now. All Orthodox. All our children are Orthodox. He, nor his siblings, ever left the church. His Mother, raised them the exact same way we are striving to raise our children. Taking them Sunday after Sunday after Sunday. Involving them in the services, not simply Sunday school. Serving in the alter, singing in the choir. It’s not anecdotal, it’s our real life. Kids do not have to fall away from the church. But it takes work, it takes diligence, and others “ideas” about what is normal collateral damage of life is not the truth for everyone and should not be accepted. I know many families whose children have grown into amazing Orthodox Christians. By the hard diligent work of their parents, having access to the teachings of our holy fathers, the lives of the saints, and I’m sure their own experiences with God. 
            I personally don’t want to ever stand before God and say, “well, we were waiting for it to all work out.” I want the church to stand as a lighthouse, as a beacon for others, who haven’t had the life my husband has had, the gift of a dutiful mother doing the sacrificial diligent work that no matter the state of the world, regardless of the failings or fears of some priests or bishops, the church, Christ’s bride, does not falter. Does not change. Remains the same, beautiful, incorrupt, salve that we need more than ever in this life. 

            • George Michalopulos says

              Mo5, I often wonder if we had had married family men as bishops whether they would have come up with these same directives? The question is not necessarily rhetorical.

              Mind you, I’m not advocating for a married episcopate, but one wonders.

              • The early Church once had married bishops.
                I understand there were sometimes demarcation difficulties between church funds and family funds.

                • Brenden, a problem that can be easily remedied so that we can return to apostolic and early church practice.

              • We have already had a married episcopate and need to return to that practice. Advocation of a married episcopate is only an affirmation of the church’s tradition not some novel idea.

                • Well, the Church’s tradition is a celibate/monastic episcopate. We haven’t had married bishops in around 1500 years or so, so we can’t argue for it being tradition.

                  What we need is bishops who are real monks, not these pseudo-monastic intellectuals we have now.

                  • Basil, ask yourself why the practice of married bishops has changed. I believe the best, most faithful clergy in the GOA and AOC are among the married clergy. Look at Bp John Abdula of the AOC, a wonderful faithful man who is a great and beloved bishop. Without the death of his wife, his loving and effective leadership would not have occurred. Many of the unmarried clergy are unmarried for a reason.

                • Johannes says

                  We need more monks, not married Bishops. I do think in the case of older married people of great holiness the Church could consider, if both spouses are willing and able, ecclesiastical divorce with both spouses entering into monastic life, so that the husband could go on and serve as a Bishop. There are probably not more than a few dozen men like this in the world now, but given how short we seem to be on good leadership it is worth considering. But married Bishops are not the way for us now. These men are barely able to resist worldly pressures as it is – with wives it would be impossible.

                  • Johannes, the apostles did a pretty good job of serving the gospel and 11 of 12 were married. According to you, their wives would have made their work impossible. Leadership in the church is poor, both theologically and pastorally. Taking monks from the Ephraim monasteries and making them bishops would mean a return to all Greek in the services, a death blow to the church.

                    • George Michalopulos says

                      Two problems with that:

                       All we know for a fact is that Peter was married & John the Beloved was not.  Other than that, we know absolutely nothing at all about the marital state of the other 10.  Some, or all of them may have been married but it’s speculation at this point.
                      There is no reason to believe that monastically-formed Ephramites would go back to just Greek.  While their liturgies are in Greek, there is way more evangelism going on at those monasteries than in any GOA parishes (outside of five or six) that I can think of.

            • Mo5,
              Some resources.   The controversy and strife we are witnessing today is nothing new.   
              There is a lot of fear, Mo5.   Fear that our bishops “will fail.”  Fear that the Church “will change.”   Fear that America “will change.”   That “the Leftists” will win.   Some of the language in the comment section is rather apocalyptic.    
              Some people have good situations, and some people have bad situations, as we know.   Our Lord has blessed your family, and that is a treasure.   Your prayers will help others.    Our prayers will help others.   In some ages, that is all we have.   The Church is a beacon, but sometimes it bruised and battered.    Normal is over.   This is Plague time now.   Just as the Church calendar has seasons, so too does the world.   
              The good times are over.   Many people can’t accept that, and I think that is where a lot of the anguish and strife comes from. 
              The Church will not fall.   It’s not falling now.   The end of this road is not clear, there is a lot of fog.   I think patience and prayer, and the continued love and support of our Bishops and parishes is the only way.    These times are tempting us to turn against each other, tempting us to divide.    
              My point is to not listen to that Voice, for we know where it comes from.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                We’ve got God on our side and this Church is HIS Church, which means it’s OUR Church. No fear here, dear. Supreme annoyance, maybe, but no fear. The Church hasn’t changed. The bishops hijacked it for awhile, but I’m guessing the money is drying up about now and they’ll come around. They’re more dependent upon us than the other way around. We’re good. We’ve got lots and lots of good priests on our side. Normal is NOT over. – Unless you’re with them. Then it’s over for you. But that’s your choice.

                • It is our Church.     We are in this together.   Metropolitan Tikhon, Archbishop Elpidophoros, Metropolitan Joseph, and all of our clergy.    One Church.   One People.    
                  Our Bishops are our Shepherds.  Sometimes Shepherds lose sight of the Sheep, but that doesn’t mean they cease to be our Shepherds.
                  There is no “side.”   There is only us.      

                  • Matthew Panchisin says

                    Dear Brandon,
                    Many in Christ’s Church think that the Bishops Priests and Deacons are to still take care with God and not struggle against the Lord God Almighty. We have seen what happens time and time again when men embrace western minded rationalistic, earthly thoughts and ways.
                    Do keep in mind that the Lord God has placed at the east side of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.
                    There are many servants of God, the Orthodox faithful who will continue to keep the the way of the tree of life and wholeheartedly sing “We, who mystically represent the Cherubim,: And chant the thrice-holy hymn to the Life-giving Trinity,: Let us set aside the cares of life. The liturgically embedded and steadfast ethos of the servants of God is in the hearts of the faithful, the place of divine knowledge.

                    God’s ways are proper and just.
                    “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God ”

                    Viruses are on earth.

                    • Our Bishops are trying to do the right thing.   They know what you posted just as well if not better than we do. 
                      They would be more helped by our prayers and less by our denunciations.    They don’t always get it right, but neither do we.

                  • “We are in this together”, you say.
                    But do we all just wallow in the morass?
                    Or do at least some of us try to climb out
                    and give a helping hand to others to follow?
                    Applying this to our history, let us ask:
                    Who was right? Who should we follow?
                    The Emperor? All the other Bishops?
                    Or Markos Evgenikos?

                    • Our Prayers and Love is not wallowing in the morass.    That is literally the best and only thing we can do.    Love our parishes and bishops.    Reach out to people, call those who are lonely.   E-mail support to our Bishops and priests and tell them we are praying for them and love them.  Continue to financially support our parishes.   We can do a lot.
                      St. Mark of Ephesus is invoked a lot in these type of conversations.    I will say this:   Follow YOUR Bishop.   The Bishops who signed the false union repented, because the Lord corrected them.    The Lord didn’t abandon His children then, and He doesn’t now.
                      We focus on our own salvation, and if we do the above, that will be better for all, I think.

          • Dear Brendan,
            It is the responsibility of the laity to call their Bishops to account when they are betraying the faith.  No where is it written that we are called to blind obedience. Can you imagine if there was blind obedience to the Bishops who apostacized during the time of St. Mark of Ephesus!?! 
            Many of the Bishops are forbidding the faithful from kissing (or even touching) Icons in the Church. This is Iconoclasm!!! They are telling us that the holy common spoon, which represents the tongs from the Book of Isaiah, which symbolizes the Mother of God….carries disease!  They are deforming the Church with social distancing markers and forcing people to wear masks.  They are taking temperatures and making people pre-register in order to receive the Body and Blood of Christ!  They are taking names of those attending so as to track them down in case they must conduct contact tracing.  The entire scenario is an abomination!

            • That was meant for Brandon…not Brendan. Sorry brother.

            • Mikhail, I agree with you. However, (through tracing the lines) I have come to the conclusion you are taking issue with Brandon, rather than me Brendan.

            • Mikhail,

              As much as I love my Church/Parish, if I walk into my Church and there are multiple spoons, I will call out Anaxios in the middle of liturgy and walk out. If this practice will not be reversed right away, I will leave for good. Not the Orthodox Church.No, I will find another Orthodox Church that uses one spoon. There are ROCOR, and Antiochian  Orthodox Churches a few miles away.

              There was no great spread of the virus at Saint Anthony’s Monastery, and they had no closures, nor changes during their liturgies. Nor Sweden, 98% of our nation, saw no great spreads. The closures will go down as one of the biggest blunders in US history. A government induced depression, followed by Socialistic give aways of  our tax dollars, a good part of those dollars having nothing to do with the virus. Turned Socialist in a blink of an eye.  Even many Democrats are now admitting the closures were/are a mistake.
              Problem is, the damage is done. No reset buttons to hit. If this spending is not reversed, someday this  Ponzi schemed country’s big ponzi bubble will burst.

              When our money is worthless, and jobs scarce, who will support our Churches, and pay our priests, and bishops? Not our Government, but what little money is left fo those in laity with a dollar to spare. Our bishops should think about that next time they bow to government, before laity.

              If you think things are ugly now, imagine when the money runs out, and ugly starts coming out of the suburbs, with nothing to lose. God Forbid, and have Mercy on us.

              • I agree Dino. Sadly, I do not hold out much hope that the Antiochians will be much different than the OCA or the GOA. I’m afraid they will hitch a ride on the clown car. I have seen some Churches holding their ground  (some Serbian Churches and many ROCOR Churches).
                As I have been saying since the early days of the Obama administration: Plant your garden, buy a good hunting rifle and learn how to hunt, have a clean water supply, get a wood burning stove, and learn how to do boil and steam canning.
                We may be headed back to the catacombs where Liturgy will be celebrated in house Churches. That’s why we need a solid Bishop to emerge.

              • George Michalopulos says

                Dino, every word you wrote was brilliant.
                Rubber hitting the road:  when the funds dry up, what will the bishops do then?  What will the Old World patriarchates do when their American cash-cows have shriveled udders?

              • Dino,
                And what will you do when they disappoint you?   
                For the record, I also oppose multiple spoons (I also oppose “disinfectants”).    But I also know that it isn’t something anyone wants to implement, especially the Bishops.
                I know what is in the Chalice.   But if my Bishop implements this, I will not allow my own feelings to keep me away or separate me from my brothers and sisters.
                We know the truth about the power of Holy Communion, and our Bishops know it too.    Christ will not allow the Church to be destroyed.   This is another storm.    When you’re in a storm, you don’t abandon ship when the seas get rough—you ride it out.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  BrAndon, they have been talking about implementing spoons for years.

                  • Steven J. M. says

                    I was on the phone to a monk from ROCOR yesterday and the conversation turned to the question of using multiple plastic spoons, disinfectants etc. I told him that my parish – Greek Orthodox Church in Australia FWIW – isn’t doing any of that. He was pleased and suggested that if it starts, I shouldn’t even see it, let alone commune. His reasoning was that seeing communion treated in a way that suggested it wasn’t holy could stay with me and give the devil ammo at a later date. I wasn’t aware of that perspective, and I have to say, it’s pretty good.

                    • Gail Sheppard says

                      See? We still have the holy among us. It’s our job to find them and listen to them. God does not leave His children without help.

                • Gail Sheppard says

                  Dino knows how it feels to be disappointed. But Dino is Greek. He’s going to take the hit and get back up again because that’s what Greek men do. They’re tough. I know. I married one.

                  • Thanks Gail,
                    I think I understand what you are trying to do, and I appreciate it.

                • Brendan,
                  I never abandoned ship. They did. How many storms does one recover from before running for higher ground. How many time s do I turn the other cheek. The GOA continues to scandalize itself year after year. It really gets old. Money wasted, stolen, lost, or squandered I can handle Disrespect the spoon, I’m done.

                  • Dino 
                    I am Brendan.
                    He is Brandon.

                  • Dino,
                      Do you have a good priest?   A good Bishop? A good Spiritual Father?    If the answer is yes to all three,  Why worry about anything else?
                    The Ecumenical Patriarchate has had holy men and scoundrels (with the vast majority falling inbetween).   
                    What did the Greeks of Asia Minor do when the EP was a money grubbing functionary?   They sighed, made the sign of the cross, and focused on their Spiritual Father, priest and village (and Bishop).     It’s the same in Russia.    Many clergy collaborated with the KGB (not judging, just stating a fact).   What did Russian people do?   sighed, made the sign of the cross and focused on their Spiritual Father and community.
                    In both instances prayers are offered up for the scoundrels.  
                    We do what we can.    We will not “fix” the Church.  We keep the Faith.   That is all. 
                    You’re weary and disappointed.  I understand that.    I would say to look to our history and the Saints who loved Bishops who didn’t always measure up.    Christ has shown us what to do.
                    God is with us.  

            • Mikail,
                 You say they are betraying the faith, but I don’t see that at all.   I see our shepherds struggling to figure out the right thing to do.   Sometimes the right decisions are not made, sometimes they are.  But they don’t cease to be our Spiritual Fathers.    They are dust as we are, with an even more heavy burden to carry.
              You have no faith in our Bishops.   I say that as someone who has been a long time reader of this blog (and has read your comments).   This isn’t an indictment, but a statement of fact.  
              I don’t know what to tell you, in that case.   I will just reiterate the point that I made before in another post:  If we have no faith in our Bishops or each other, can we really call it Communion?   Is that the mindset to approach the Chalice?    
              These are serious questions in serious times.    You are looking for “a solid Bishop.”   Who would that be?     This is a dangerous road to follow, and it leads out of the Church.     I don’t question your motives, but this isn’t the way.

              • Gail Sheppard says

                RE: “You have no faith in our Bishops.”

                As long as they serve two masters, we’re not good with that.

                • Our Lord told us what to do when our Bishops don’t measure up.   I’m not “good with that” either if a Bishop is abusing their position.   However, I think it is not helpful to paint with too broad a brush or read our own political (Church or American) views into it.
                  The Bishops need our love and prayers, and our parishes need us to stay.    I am staunchly opposed to the spirit of division that has been allowed to fester in America and in the Church.   

                  • They are sowing doubt in the faithful by telling us the Communion spoon carries disease, Brandon! They are active Iconoclasts forbidding us to kiss or touch Icons. They have transformed the holy Temple into a gathering of hypochondriacs at a Halloween party. Don’t you get it, Brandon? We have not abandoned them…they have abandoned us! I trust that God will send us that Bishop, my friend…just as he sent St Mark of Ephesus when he was needed most.

  36. George Michalopulos says
    • Sage-Girl says

      George, yes it’s astounding!  Last night at curfew around America our cities again were torched — tonight in NYC DeBlasio has surrendered it to ANTIFA & the Rioters.
      I’ve a feeling tonight at curfew it’s going to be bad…  

  37. Sage-Girl says

    Thanks Michelle + … ’kinda’ Gail? HA -?‍♀️
    I’m quite safe, live more uptown residential area, but could hear police cars, rushing to smashed windows of Saks + Bloomingdales  … New Yorkers want Mayor out – he won’t send in National Guard.
    Thankfully no churches set on fire 

  38. BRANDON said:
    “Mikhail, Have you talked with your priest about your concern”

    Not that it’s any of your business….but yes….I talk to him about it every day.

    • Gail Sheppard says

      I wouldn’t normally allow this comment, Brandon, but it’s that approach problem I just mentioned that is going to get in your way with the people who post here and frankly, my loyalty is to them because they’ve been loyal to the blog. I don’t want people getting all pisssed off because of your delivery. What you said to Mikhail was condescending. For all you know, Mikhail is a priest! – No more advice to people, no more telling them what they ought to do, BRANDON.

      • It is your blog and your rules, of course.   But I would counter, what is this blog if not a sounding board to help people figure out “what they ought to do”?
        My question was not intended in a spirit of condescension, but in charity.  My whole point in posting is to provide a calmer voice.    Everyone is riled up, and it does no good. 
        I’m the guy who will pat your shoulder when you get too heated at coffee hour about something.   Or the quiet one who will smile and go get more coffee when asked something partisan, or when pressed will pour cold water all over the conversation with something outside the box. 
        Perhaps I am in the wrong place.   I would concede that point. 

        • Gail Sheppard says

          You’re welcome here, BRANDON. I, personally, don’t think you’re in the wrong place. If that were the case, we wouldn’t be having this dialog.

          How can you be so sure everyone “being riled up does no good”? I may completely agree with you, BTW, but it’s the delivery that is the issue. Making declarative statements as if you know what’s “good” and the rest of us, the “et al.” don’t, is condescending which I’m now thinking may not be something you ever intended. I wouldn’t say you’ve come across as the quiet guy (yet, but I have hope) who goes and gets more coffee, but (and this is a HUGE but) we’d like to have that guy. Maybe you are that guy. But be that guy in a more respectful way. There are other ways of making a point.

          I have to tell you, this is not a typical blog in that we have a LOT of heavy hitters here; priests, bishops and even metropolitans. I know of 4 physicians. Many, many professional people. People with incredible experience. A plethora of intelligent, really, really smart people. They’re insightful and they’ve been paying attention to events you may not even know about because they’re from all over. When they’re “riled up” (especially, collectively) there are legitimate reasons. Hear them out before you step in and take the position that they need you to calm them down or lead them down another path.

          You’re absolutely right about it being a sounding board and your ideas are most welcomed but no one here needs someone else to tell them what they ought to do because it puts you as the sole voice of reason and, BRANDON, I’ve got to tell you, you are not. Not yet. Probably not ever. There is not one person on this blog who is T-H-E expert, i.e. the person who always knows what’s going on and the direction everyone should take to get there.

          Stick around, BRANDON. There’s a place for you here. – Thank you for hearing me out. I do appreciate it.


          As for my rules, there aren’t many. We can’t have people getting upset with each other because #1 no one cares what someone else thinks about another person and because #2 the back and forth discussions in trying to one-up one another hijacks the blog. It’s an unnecessary indulgence on the part of some to “show off” and then it becomes their blog and not ours (and by “our” I mean all of ours). Even what we’re doing here is a digression, and for that, I apologise. It’s just that I wanted to step in before things got out-of-hand.

          We can conclude now. Again, I hope you’ll stay.

  39. I appreciate your indulgence.   Maybe I did come on a bit strong.   For that I apologize, but as we know these are sensitive times.
    I don’t claim to be the sole voice of reason, and repent of my delivery, but not of my views.    This is a dark time, and we should not give in to the darkness.   Politics is what it is, and the zingers here may get laughs at World Net Daily, Townhall or any of the other conservative websites, but does it serve the Gospel?
    I don’t care about “politics.”   I haven’t commented at all on George’s political stuff, and I won’t.    The Two-Faced Emperor who decides what ideology will butter his bread this year.   It’s all a sham, and we’re being manipulated to serve it.   It is being used to divide us and separate us from Christ and each other. 
    But you’re right.   Maybe I’m not the guy.   I’m grateful for your kindness.   I pray Our Lord and Panagia blesses you.

  40. Sorry I’m so late to the game. Mother of Five….wow….thank you for this simply outstanding post!!